Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki are making a return to the big screen with their latest film, The Boy and the Heron. The film, which is rumored to be Miyazaki’s last, has been acquired for North American distribution by GKIDS, a company that has collaborated with Studio Ghibli in the past. The Boy and the Heron, also known as Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka (How Do You Live?) in Japan, is an original story by Miyazaki and is produced by Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with music by long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi. While there is no official release date for the film yet, GKIDS plans to release it later this year.
The Boy and the Heron
Miyazaki has been working on The Boy and the Heron for several years, coming out of retirement in 2016 to start production. The film takes inspiration from a 1937 novel of the same name, but the story is said to be an original creation by Miyazaki and not connected to the book. Set during World War II’s Pacific conflict, the film follows a young boy named Mahito Maki who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and embarks on a fantastical journey with a talking grey heron. Miyazaki dedicates the film to his grandson.
In June, Studio Ghibli president Toshio Suzuki announced that the company would not release any trailers or promotional content for the film, aside from the official poster. Suzuki explained that it was a decision to avoid overexposure and prevent viewers from experiencing spoilers. The Boy and the Heron has already been released in Japanese theaters, including IMAX screenings, making it the first Studio Ghibli film to receive the IMAX treatment. Early reviews have compared the film to Miyazaki classics like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, which won an Academy Award.
GKIDS president David Jesteadt expressed excitement and honor in bringing Miyazaki’s highly anticipated masterpiece to North America. Miyazaki is revered in the filmmaking industry, having won an Academy Award for Spirited Away and receiving nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises. With a decade-long hiatus, The Boy and the Heron marks Miyazaki’s much-anticipated return to filmmaking.
Fans and moviegoers can look forward to the release of The Boy and the Heron later this year, as GKIDS continues to showcase the magical storytelling and animation that Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki are renowned for. It is a film that holds promise, as it combines Miyazaki’s unique vision and storytelling with the cherished legacy of Studio Ghibli.